Special Issue "Romance Languages at the Forefront of Language Acquisition Research—Volume 2"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Juana M. Liceras
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Guest Editor
1) Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Department of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, Canada
2) Departamento de Lenguas Aplicadas, Universidad Nebrija, Madrid, Spain
Interests: linguistic theory and language acquisition; Romance linguistics; bilingualism; migrant and refugee language; contact linguistics; code-switching; pidging and creole grammars; pedagogical grammar; bilingualism and non-typical language development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Raquel Fernández Fuertes
Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Filología Inglesa, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain
Interests: linguistic theory, comparative grammar and bilingual acquisition; language-in-contact situations (e.g., code-switching, crosslinguistic influence, natural translation, word order issues); spontaneous and experimental data analyses from simultaneous and sequential bilinguals
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The goal of this Special Issue is to showcase state of the art work on the L1, bilingual and non-native acquisition of Romance languages from a theoretical and empirical perspective. The volume will examine how recent learnability issues are approached using acquisition data from different Romance languages. We particularly encourage contributions dealing with different populations, including but not limited to L1 acquisition, L2 acquisition, bi/multilingual and heritage language acquisition, language processing and language disorders.

As to the projected length of the Special Issue and articles, the overall target length of this Special Issue would be 90,000 to 135,000 words with manuscripts that are between 8000 and 10,000 words in length; that is:

  • Contents: Between 9 and 12 articles (with an Introduction—possibly written as a content article).
  • Romance Languages: Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese (Peninsular and/or Brazilian), Romanian and Spanish (Peninsular and/or Latin American).
  • Acquisition modes and issues: L1, 2L1/Heritage, L2, language disorders, compounding, etc.
  • Sections
  1. Primary language acquisition

    • Clitic pronouns in the L1 Spanish of Down Syndrome and non-specific language impairment speakers.
    • Syntax
    • Galician and Portuguese
    • Morphology
  1. Bilingual (2L1) language acquisition (Romance+non-Romance)

    • Spanish/English. Narrative and morphosyntactic characteristics of the speech of a bilingual adult with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
    • French/English
    • Spanish/Basque
    • Spanish/Quechua
  1. Non-primary language acquisition

    • L2 Romanian (L1 English)
    • L2 Spanish (L1 Arabic). Monosyllabic placeholders in child L2 Spanish.
    • L2 Brazilian Portuguese (L1 Spanish). Compounding and derivation: typological proximity versus typological similarity.
    • L2 Spanish (L1 Swahili).

Our tentative completion schedule is as follows:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 5 June 2017 (400–450 words including bibliography)
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 5 July 2017
  • Full manuscript deadline: 31 December 2017 (targeted)

Abstract submission is now closed. Authors of successful abstracts are invited to submit full papers by 31 December 2017, which will be sent out for peer review.

 

Prof. Juana M. Liceras
Prof. Raquel Fernández Fuertes
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Formal approaches to language acquisition
  • Empirical approaches to language acquisition
  • Primary language acquisition
  • Non-primary language acquisition
  • Bilingual language acquisition
  • Simultaneous bilingualism
  • Sequential bilingualism
  • Language disorders
  • Bilingualism and cognitive impairment
  • Language acquisition and language contact

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Teasing Apart the Effects of Dominance, Transfer, and Processing in Reference Production by German–Italian Bilingual Adolescents
Languages 2018, 3(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030036 - 12 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper intends to test different accounts of bilingual reference production against the production of referring expressions in Italian by German‒Italian bilingual adolescents. In particular, we investigate to what extent bilingual referring expressions involve transfer from one language to the other, result from [...] Read more.
This paper intends to test different accounts of bilingual reference production against the production of referring expressions in Italian by German‒Italian bilingual adolescents. In particular, we investigate to what extent bilingual referring expressions involve transfer from one language to the other, result from processing and dominance variables, and are the outcome of a process of language change. We will show that each of these hypotheses makes a precise prediction about which referential strategy bilinguals should adopt. The production of referring expressions is examined in the context of a story-telling task. Based on the analysis of overspecified forms, clitic omissions, and agreement mismatches, as well as on correlations with dominance factors, we argue in favor of the relevance of dominance and processing factors for bilingual reference production. Finally, we verify the possibility of generalizing our conclusions to a different linguistic domain, concerning the expression of word order in main clauses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bilingual Processing of Comparative Structures in Spanish
Languages 2018, 3(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030035 - 07 Sep 2018
Abstract
Previous studies have focused on the access of content words to investigate the cognitive strategies used in bilingual processing (e.g., Fernández 2003), but less is known about functional words. In this study, I assess (i) whether three groups of bilingual speakers of Spanish [...] Read more.
Previous studies have focused on the access of content words to investigate the cognitive strategies used in bilingual processing (e.g., Fernández 2003), but less is known about functional words. In this study, I assess (i) whether three groups of bilingual speakers of Spanish (native, heritage, and second language (L2) speakers) access the lexically-encoded information of the quantifier más ‘more’ to activate a comparative structure interpretation, and (ii) what processing strategies are used to resolve a temporary semantic ambiguity that surfaces upon accessing that interpretation. Using a self-paced reading task, three groups of Spanish speakers living in the United States read comparative sentences, which allowed for two possible continuations at the subordinate clause: a subject continuation (e.g., El cantante obtiene más premios que el pianista en el festival ‘The singer gets more awards than the pianist at the festival’) or an object continuation (e.g., El cantante obtiene más premios que críticas en el festival ‘The singer gets more awards than criticism at the festival’). Results revealed longer reading times for the subject comparison compared to the object comparison structures, and no significant differences between the three groups, suggesting that participants in all groups followed similar processing strategies and preferences in the reading of comparative structures. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Revisiting (Non-)Native Influence in VOT Production: Insights from Advanced L3 Spanish
Languages 2018, 3(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030030 - 31 Jul 2018
Abstract
A growing body of research investigating cross-linguistic influence on the acquisition of a third phonological system suggests that first (L1) and second (L2) languages concur in influencing oral production in the target third language (L3). Yet, there are also claims of either a [...] Read more.
A growing body of research investigating cross-linguistic influence on the acquisition of a third phonological system suggests that first (L1) and second (L2) languages concur in influencing oral production in the target third language (L3). Yet, there are also claims of either a more noticeable effect of the L2 on the L3, or a prevailing influence from the L1. This study further explores whether the L1 and the L2 compete or converge on exerting influence on L3 pronunciation. To do so, we examine the production of voice onset time for voiceless stops by adult advanced learners of L3 Spanish divided into two groups (15 L1 English-L2 French, and 15 L1 French-L2 English speakers). Three monolingual control groups were also tested. Participants were recorded reading word lists that contained voiceless stops in stressed onset position. A Kruskal-Wallis test uncovered significant differences traceable to the L1-English speakers, which puts them at a slight disadvantage vis-à-vis their Francophone counterparts. These results favor claims of a more decisive role for the L1 in L3 pronunciation. We compare our results to findings from previous studies targeting intermediate learners, and find proficiency in the L3 may account for the observed differences. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Acquiring L1-English L2-Spanish Code-Switching: The Role of Exposure to Language Mixing
Languages 2018, 3(3), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030026 - 12 Jul 2018
Abstract
This paper explores the code-switching behavior of second language (L2) bilinguals as a lens into the development of their L2 linguistic systems. Specifically, it investigates the acceptability judgments of L1-English L2-Spanish bilinguals on intra-sentential code-switching, comparing those judgments to a group of Spanish–English [...] Read more.
This paper explores the code-switching behavior of second language (L2) bilinguals as a lens into the development of their L2 linguistic systems. Specifically, it investigates the acceptability judgments of L1-English L2-Spanish bilinguals on intra-sentential code-switching, comparing those judgments to a group of Spanish–English bilinguals who acquired both languages as an L1. The particular issues of proficiency and bilingual language behavior are analyzed, testing whether either factor has an effect on L2 code-switching intuitions. The results suggest that both proficiency and bilingual language behavior are relevant. L2 bilinguals with an intermediate/advanced proficiency level of Spanish were more likely to align with 2L1 bilinguals with regard to code-switching judgments, as were L2 bilinguals who reported prior experience with language mixing. L2 bilinguals with lower proficiency in Spanish, as well as those who reported never engaging in code-switching, however, were more likely to diverge from the 2L1 bilinguals in their judgments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implicit and Explicit Knowledge of a Multiple Interface Phenomenon: Differential Task Effects in Heritage Speakers and L2 Speakers of Spanish in The Netherlands
Languages 2018, 3(3), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030025 - 10 Jul 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper compares heritage speakers and second language (L2) speakers of Spanish with Dutch as their dominant language, in order to explore the role of age of onset and manner of acquisition in the nature of the knowledge (implicit vs. explicit) of the [...] Read more.
This paper compares heritage speakers and second language (L2) speakers of Spanish with Dutch as their dominant language, in order to explore the role of age of onset and manner of acquisition in the nature of the knowledge (implicit vs. explicit) of the subjunctive. Differently from previous studies, all items were presented orally and in written form, so that language mode of presentation could be excluded as a confounding factor. Moreover, the groups were matched on their general proficiency in Spanish using both an explicit and an implicit proficiency task. The results showed that the L2 speakers outperformed the heritage speakers in the explicit knowledge task and vice versa in the implicit knowledge task, suggesting that differential task effects, which thus far have only been attested for morpho-syntactic phenomena, can be extended to interface phenomena as well. These findings imply that age of onset and manner of acquisition have an influence in the way knowledge is represented in these two populations, and moreover emphasize the importance of using different task types in bilingual research. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Narrative Abilities of an English-Spanish Bilingual with Prader-Willi Syndrome
Languages 2018, 3(3), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030023 - 02 Jul 2018
Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyze the narrative abilities of a 33-year-old English-Spanish bilingual with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The few previous linguistic studies examining monolinguals with PWS have focused primarily on these individuals’ narrative capacity, revealing a performance deficit in this [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyze the narrative abilities of a 33-year-old English-Spanish bilingual with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The few previous linguistic studies examining monolinguals with PWS have focused primarily on these individuals’ narrative capacity, revealing a performance deficit in this area (Lewis et al. 2002; Garayzábal-Heinze et al. 2012). The present study is novel in that it examines a bilingual speaker and also tests his narrative abilities in both languages. Two wordless picture books from Mayer’s (1967, 1969) Frog story series were used as the elicitation method. The PWS bilingual produced, over two experimental sessions, four narratives (two in each language), which were compared to four analogous narratives produced by a 25-year-old typically developing bilingual with a comparable linguistic background and proficiency level in Spanish and English. Following Gonçalves and collaborators’ (Gonçalves et al. 2001a, 2001b, 2001c) narrative evaluation protocol, the narratives were analyzed according to three dimensions: narrative structure and coherence, narrative process and complexity, and narrative content and multiplicity. Overall, the results revealed that the PWS bilingual (1) presented a poor narration ability in both languages, with narrative content and multiplicity being the least impaired; (2) showed better narrative abilities during the second experimental session (i.e., narrative abilities improved with experience/practice); and (3) did not show typically developing behavior but a comparable performance to that of monolingual speakers with PWS. These findings suggest that bilingualism should not be discouraged in PWS populations and that special attention should be given to the development of their narrative abilities in their school curriculum. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Clitic Production in Bilingual Children: When Exposure Matters
Languages 2018, 3(3), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030022 - 28 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of this work is to investigate how bilingual children perform with respect to monolingual children in a task eliciting direct object clitic pronouns in Italian. Clitic production is considered a good clinical marker for Italian monolingual children suffering from specific language [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to investigate how bilingual children perform with respect to monolingual children in a task eliciting direct object clitic pronouns in Italian. Clitic production is considered a good clinical marker for Italian monolingual children suffering from specific language impairment (SLI) (Bortolini et al. 2006). Moreover, this task is reported to be particularly challenging for early second language children (EL2), who are less accurate than their peers in this task (Vender et al. 2016). Even though the typology of errors committed by the two populations (non-impaired bilinguals and SLI children) is generally different, it can be difficult to keep them apart from each other and, as a consequence, to identify a language impairment in bilingual children. However, it has been suggested that the difficulties exhibited by EL2 children in clitic production are related to their competence in their L2 and that they should disappear as soon as their mastery of the L2 increases. To test this prediction, we assessed clitic production in a group of 31 bilingual children having Italian as their L2 (mean age 10;2), comparing their performance to that of a group of 33 Italian monolingual children (mean age 10;2). The bilingual children used their L1 on a daily basis, as assessed by means of a bilingual exposure questionnaire, and had on average eight years of exposure to Italian; moreover, they performed similarly to monolinguals in a receptive vocabulary task, indicating that their competence in Italian was good. Consistently with our predictions, we found that bilingual children performed very accurately in the clitic elicitation task, similarly to monolinguals, confirming that the deficits previously found in EL2 children were not related to bilingualism itself, but more likely to their still incomplete competence in Italian. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Typological Differences in Morphological Patterns, Gender Features, and Thematic Structure in the L2 Acquisition of Ashaninka Spanish
Languages 2018, 3(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020021 - 11 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
It has been widely argued that morphological competence, particularly functional morphology, represents the bottleneck of second language acquisition (Jensen et al. 2017; Lardiere 1998, 2005; Slabakova 2008, 2009, 2013). In this study, we explore three challenging aspects of the morphology of Spanish among [...] Read more.
It has been widely argued that morphological competence, particularly functional morphology, represents the bottleneck of second language acquisition (Jensen et al. 2017; Lardiere 1998, 2005; Slabakova 2008, 2009, 2013). In this study, we explore three challenging aspects of the morphology of Spanish among advanced L1 Ashaninka—L2 Spanish speakers: (i) the acquisition of proclitics and enclitics with inflected verbs; (ii) the distribution of accusative clitics according to the thematic role of the direct object in anaphoric and doubling structures; and (iii) the distribution of clitic forms and their association with gender features. Our results show evidence of the L2 acquisition of clitic structures in L2 Spanish speakers, and no difference between native and L2 speakers regarding sensitivity to thematic roles. However, there are statistically significant differences between groups in the distribution of the gender specification of the clitic antecedents or doubled determiner phrases (DPs). We take these results as evidence in support of the view that morphological patterns can be acquired (proclitics vs. suffixes) as well as preferences for mapping thematic roles onto clitics, but subtle differences in the continuum of preferences for mapping gender features are more difficult to acquire. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On Convergence, Ongoing Language Change, and Crosslinguistic Influence in Direct Object Expression in Catalan–Spanish Bilingualism
Languages 2018, 3(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020014 - 27 Apr 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The present study explores two morphological differences in direct object expression between Spanish and Catalan: Differential Object Marking (DOM), and the accusative clitics el /l/ vs. ho /u/. Both phenomena are regulated by semantic features, such as animacy and specificity/definiteness. The study experimentally [...] Read more.
The present study explores two morphological differences in direct object expression between Spanish and Catalan: Differential Object Marking (DOM), and the accusative clitics el /l/ vs. ho /u/. Both phenomena are regulated by semantic features, such as animacy and specificity/definiteness. The study experimentally tested 57 Catalan–Spanish bilinguals with different degrees of language dominance in their comprehension and production of these Catalan constructions in order to explore the degree of structural convergence. The results show that with respect to DOM, bilinguals systematically accept ample optionality, creating a new language variety, the bilingual variety, with properties similar and different from both Spanish and Catalan. With respect to the accusative clitics, a certain degree of functional interference in the grammar of Spanish-dominant bilinguals is found. These results illustrate, on the one hand, structural convergence in DOM, culminating in an internal language change accelerated by language contact, and, on the other hand, incipient language transfer from the dominant language in the expression of accusative clitics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Monosyllabic Place Holders in Child Acquisition of Spanish as a Second Language
Languages 2018, 3(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010007 - 19 Mar 2018
Abstract
Monosyllabic place holders (MPHs) have been studied extensively in first-language (L1) acquisition of Spanish and other Romance languages. However, the study of MPHs in second-language (L2) acquisition, both by children and adults, has received much less attention. This study provides evidence for the [...] Read more.
Monosyllabic place holders (MPHs) have been studied extensively in first-language (L1) acquisition of Spanish and other Romance languages. However, the study of MPHs in second-language (L2) acquisition, both by children and adults, has received much less attention. This study provides evidence for the presence of MPHs in the L2 Spanish of two L1 Moroccan Arabic children living in Spain. The age difference between the children (10;9 for Rachida and 6;10 for Khalid) allows us to address the issue of whether the younger child would use MPHs, as is the case in L1 acquisition. However, what the data show is that both children used MPHs, although Khalid’s MPH rate was slightly higher than Rachida’s. Therefore, based on these findings we argue that MPHs can constitute a strategy available for all child learners of Spanish. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On Recursive Modification in Child L1 French
Languages 2018, 3(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010006 - 16 Mar 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper investigates nominal recursive modification (RM) in the L1 acquisition of French. Although recursion is considered the fundamental property of human languages, recursive self-embedding is found to be difficult for children in a variety of languages and constructions. Despite these challenges, the [...] Read more.
This paper investigates nominal recursive modification (RM) in the L1 acquisition of French. Although recursion is considered the fundamental property of human languages, recursive self-embedding is found to be difficult for children in a variety of languages and constructions. Despite these challenges, the acquisition of RM proves to be resilient; acquirable even under severely degraded input conditions. From a minimalist perspective on the operations of narrow syntax, recursive embedding is essentially the application of a sequence of Merge operations (Chomsky 1995; Trotzke and Zwart 2014); therefore, given the universality of Merge, we do not expect to find cross-linguistic differences in how difficult recursion is. But if the challenging nature of recursion stems from factors which might differ from language to language, we expect different outcomes cross-linguistically. We compare new data from French to existing English data (Pérez-Leroux et al. 2012) in order to examine to what extent language-specific properties of RM structures determine the acquisition path. While children’s production differs significantly from their adult’s counterparts, we find no differences between French-speaking and English-speaking children. Our findings suggest that the challenging nature of recursion does not stem from the grammar itself and that what shapes the acquisition path is the interaction between universal properties of language and considerations not specific to language, namely computational efficiency. Full article
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